Sunday, August 31, 2008



Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
“The American Promise”
Democratic Convention
Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Denver, Colorado

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this
great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency
of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this
journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working
Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours --Hillary Rodham Clinton.
To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to
Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the
United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the
finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the
conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I
love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a
young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-
known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his
mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and
sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one
American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each
moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and
soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors --found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our
economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of
you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More
of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and
tuition that’s beyond your reach.


These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a
direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement,
finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the
equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then
chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family
the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and
families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns
before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents
across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in
the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same
party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country
for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four
years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the
uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our
gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s
broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the
time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about
your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of
the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health
care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but
independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this President.
He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief
advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety
Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and
that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”


A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after
they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever,
because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell
that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved
ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They
work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans
that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of
Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as
someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds
of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax
relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health
care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do
nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security
and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy –
give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to
everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really
means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market
will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you
don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage;
whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can
someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23
million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average
American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under
George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the
profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and
start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look
after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.


The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to
that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only
reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan,
I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and
was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night
shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked
and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the
best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all
those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two
decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think
about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-
management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a
woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off
buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured
everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s
watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has
been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on
their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of
the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we
will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate
growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American
jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should
do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every
child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools
and new roads and new science and technology.


Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It
should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for
every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that
we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I
am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me
spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the
American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas,
and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will
create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy
like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a
clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the
Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John
McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-
efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable
fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap
measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find
ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the
fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the
American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the
next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power
and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and
five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.


Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class
education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle
and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will
not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early
childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries
and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more
accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit
to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every
single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you
don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give
themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies
while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop
discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because
nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a
sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead
of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I
want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for
every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America
grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs
that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because
we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more
than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to
recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes,
government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make
our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success
for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that
programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and
make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing
the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s


And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must
we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who
has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a
debate I’m ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up
and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face.
When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for
more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually
attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his
lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin
Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed
by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that
Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands
alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President
who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq.
You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t
truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain
wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice –
but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that
Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.
The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of
Americans --Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send
our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them
the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the
Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will
also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear
weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats
of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate
change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again
that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of
peace, and who yearn for a better future.


These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating
them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political
purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that
people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let
us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John
McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and
Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some
died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue
America – they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and
Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of
the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by
lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common
purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of
unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for
hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell
me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of
criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree
that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the
hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t
know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an
employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of
America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and
grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our
insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is
just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And
that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics
to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as
someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what – it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have
about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If


your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for
what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical
pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the
nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics
of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the
same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have
shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we
need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens
because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas
and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it.
Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more
children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington,
when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more
accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and
in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never
thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who
would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the
soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in
when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich.
We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our
universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world
coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even
when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes
us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I
tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led


immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to
picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every
corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial,
and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve
heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and
frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of
life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can
be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge
that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many
children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and
cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many
lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment,
in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that
promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without
wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.



Published on 30/08/2008
By Standard on Saturday Team and Agencies

Senator Barack Obama formally accepted the Democratic Party presidential nomination in a speech that once again acknowledged his Kenyan roots.

The Illinois Senator, who faces Republican Party’s choice for White House in November Senator John McCain, made history yesterday as the first black nominee of a major party in the US.

Obama delivered a speech acclaimed by bloggers and commentators as a collector’s item, on the 45th anniversary of America’s renowned civil rights activist and Baptist minister Dr Martin Luther King’s death.

"When this campaign ends, after future presidents have come and gone, and when today’s young people are grown old, history will remember Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008, as the day a black man became the presidential nominee of a major party,’’ was how the Associated Press captured the tumultuous moment on Obama’s career.

AP reported from Denver City: "It’s a history that belongs to the red states and the blue states and the United States, to borrow the phrase that made people first sit up and listen to Barack Obama only four years ago. Americans who don’t like him, who will never vote for him, own it, too. This is history with the ink still wet; transcendent, yet in your face now."

Obama spoke at Invesco Field in Denver on the last night of the Democratic Convention then hit the road for a joint campaign with his running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who still commutes on the train daily.

Strong delivery

On Friday, in one speech, Obama addressed every issue his opponent has raised against him. "Obama takes aim at McCain," was the headline one Dallas paper chose for the Senator’s top story.

Casting himself as the face and agent of change Americans can believe in, on the altar of, "eight years is enough for Republicans,’’ Obama promised to end war, cut taxes, and turn away from the path taken by the George W. Bush administration.

"America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this," he told a stadium packed with 85,000 cheering, flag-waving Democrats — a sight as unprecedented in American politics as the possibility of electing a black president.

He talked about experience, judgement, the claims that he is a celebrity not a leader and that he does not share American values. He also talked about President Bush and how he has failed America.

no repeat

"Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Obama’s speech balanced between soaring in high air and occasionally coming down to earth, where he landed hard on McCain whom he mentioned by name at least 20 times.

He praised his opponent’s service and patriotism, and then attacked him for failing to "get it." "It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it," he said with a tinge of sarcasm.

He added: "If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but it is not the change we need."

On the war on terrorism he poked fun at his opponent: "John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell, but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives."

To those who think he is inexperienced and lacks the seasoning Washington makes of leaders, he preserved two paragraphs: "What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you."

"…the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington."

He went on: "We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe."

He attacked Republican record too: "These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush."

He lumped McCain with President George Bush, declaring that the "American promise has been threatened" by eight years under President Bush and that John McCain represented a continuation of policies that undermined the nation’s economy and imperilled its standing around the world.

He addressed people in a football stadium refashioned into a vast political stage. Amid cheers, Obama linked McCain to what he described as the "failed presidency of George W. Bush and the broken politics in Washington."

Deserve better

"America, we are better than these last eight years," he said. "We are a better country than this."

The New York Times referred to the event as, "Politics, Spectacle and History Under Open Sky," while others reported he revived the spirit of America’s slain President J.F. Kennedy. The Indiapolis Star went for the headline, "Dems put one heck of a show".

As he talked, children waved small flags on their parents’ shoulders, tears ran down elderly faces and "Change" signs formed a sea of blue, while chants of "U.S.A." competed with "Yes, we can."

‘We meet at one of those defining moments -- a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more," Obama said.

McCain unleashed the news that would fight Obama’s speech in the press by naming his running mate, Alaska’s Senator Sarah Palin, 44. It was argued he picked on the inexperienced politician to woe those bitter after Obama beat New York Senator Hillary Clinton of the Democratic ticket.

McCain had also said he would run a new television commercial during their convention, which he did. In a show of statesmanship that distinguishes US politics, McCain read an advert saying; "Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, Congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight, Senator, job well done."

Fight back

In his acceptance speech, Obama went beyond attacking McCain by linking him to Bush and his policies. In the course of the speech, he repeatedly portrayed McCain as the face of the old politics and failed Republican policies.

He attacked the presumed strength of McCain’s campaign, national security and dared him for a live debate.

By accepting the nomination in an open stadium, he became the third nominee of a major party in the nation’s history to leave the site of his convention to give his acceptance speech at a stadium. His aides chose the stadium to signal a break from typical politics and to permit thousands of his supporters from across the country to hear him speak.

But even before Obama left the stage, watching the fireworks, McCain’s campaign issued a statement attacking him.

"Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meagre record of Barack Obama," a spokesman for McCain said.

Obama chastised McCain for trying to portray him as a celebrity. He offered a list of people who he said had inspired him; from his grandmother to an unemployed factory worker he met on the campaign trail.



August 30 2008
Saturday Nation

A similar advert with similar dated criticism of Obama with eventual vice-presidential nominee Joseph Biden was aired by the McCain campaign

When a TV campaign advert insinuating that Barack Obama has neglected his Kenyan half-brother who lives in Nairobi’s Huruma estate started being replayed repeatedly to coincide with the Democratic Party convention in Denver, it was the clearest signal that the period of campaign dirty tricks had begun in earnest.

Though the advert was quickly repudiated by the John McCain campaign, it turned out to be the work of a Texan Republican group of the sort that derailed Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid in the infamous “Swift Boat” affair.

It did not seem to matter that the half-brother, George Onyango Obama, had only supportive words to say about his famous relative when he was fished out by the Italian edition of an American magazine that first broke the story of his existence.

But the bigger import of the story, it seemed, was to stoke doubts that an African-American candidate with half-siblings spanning the slum-world of Nairobi to Indonesia and God-knows-where did not quite present the wholesome, “All-American” picture of somebody seeking the US presidency.

Negative advert

The McCain campaign was less reticent in putting out another negative advert depicting Senator Hillary Clinton criticising Obama as “inexperienced” at the height of the Democratic primary battle.

The intention was to juxtapose this criticism with Clinton’s endorsement of Obama as the party presidential nominee.

A similar advert with similar dated criticism of Obama, this time from eventual vice-presidential nominee Joseph Biden, was aired by the McCain campaign immediately the veteran senator was selected to become Obama’s running-mate.

It is probably not an exaggeration to say that Obama’s chances of getting elected the first African-American President of the US hinges on Clinton and her supporters.

That is why Clinton’s endorsement of Obama was billed as the second most important event at the Democratic Party convention after the candidate’s acceptance speech itself.

Though as expected Clinton gave a fulsome endorsement, the biggest question mark in American politics right now – for both Democrats and Republicans – is if her core supporters, especially the crucial segment of older white women and low-income white men, will rally behind Obama.

The polls have not been altogether encouraging. A poll commissioned by CNN last week indicated a full quarter of Clinton’s supporters were not keen to vote for Obama.

The same poll showed the General Election race at a dead heat with Obama and McCain each at 47 per cent, and this despite the huge media enthusiasm evident around Obama. (The numbers were likely to improve after Obama’s speech).

In fact, the paradox goes deeper. Democratic candidates for Congressional and state offices are riding a crest of support being enjoyed by the Democratic Party in many states across the country.

In a situation such as this, pollsters would have expected the candidate of the Democratic Party to be enjoying a comfortable lead over the Republican Party’s McCain. More so as the Republican is closely tied to many of Bush’s failed policies like Iraq.

Will one of the most uplifting presidential campaigns in modern America be undone by something many people are too shy to talk about – race?

Retired US basketball star Charles Barkley, who once stated he was Republican but is now solidly for Obama, dismisses the persistent pro-Clinton tilt among a section of Democrats as an “excuse”.

McCain has been quick to exploit the displeasure many of Clinton’s supporters felt about the fact that she was passed over by Obama for the vice-presidential slot.



Denver, Colorado
Friday, August 29 2008

He reminded the 80,000-plus crowd of a speech he made in 2004, stating that his father was from Kenya.
Mr Obama for the first time heavily criticised competitor John McCain (Republican), saying he had wrong credentials
The senator asked voters to reject the Republican candidate in the election, adding “eight (years) is enough.”
He now has eight weeks to campaign before voters can go to the polling booths.

Presidential nominee Barack Obama extolled his Kenyan connection in a bold 44-minute speech which has raised the stakes in the race to the United States’ White House.

Obama's Speech
Accepting the nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee for the November 4 US General Election, the Illinois senator had space to mention Kenya in his first paragraph, according to extracts of a speech issued to the Press.

He reminded the 80,000-plus crowd of a speech he made in 2004, stating that his father was from Kenya.

The senator used the line, that came in paragraph three of his prepared speech, to explain that his father and mother had a good dream.

“Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story — of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

“It is that promise that has always set this country apart — that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well,” he said.

In the wide ranging speech, Mr Obama for the first time heavily criticised competitor John McCain (Republican), saying he had the wrong credentials to deserve an office in the White House.

As Mr Obama was delivering his speech from about 5.10am East African time, Kenyans in their thousands woke up to watch him live on television.

Tourism minister Najib Balala and his wife and three children were up as early.

By the time the Saturday Nation team arrived at his house at 4.45am, the minister was seated in front of his TV with an “Obama for President” button pinned on his shirt.

“In Obama there is a new leadership that gives inspiration and hope not only in America but all over the world,” Mr Balala said. He added: “Obama’s leadership gives a new meaning to democracy in total disregard of whether one is black or white.”

Mr Balala said he related to Mr Obama because of his youth.

“But more importantly, I see him in direct relevance to my position as having the same background ... I am not black but I am a Kenyan and I am a Muslim, so how shall I be judged ... will it be on my race or my determination to serve the country and the values of which I stand?” he asked.

The minister described Mr Obama’s speech as “classic because of the way it was presented and the decor of the stadium which I strongly believe will turn votes in his favour.

“It would be difficult for him to lose this election,” he added.

Nyang’oma-Kogelo village in Siaya District also came alive moments after Mr Obama accepted his party nomination to run for the presidency.

Extended family members of the Democratic party nominee gathered at his grandmother, Mama Sarah Hussein’s house, to celebrate a milestone in the history of the small village.

The home was abuzz with activity as hordes of local and international journalists pitched tent to document the reactions of Mr Obama’s Kenyan relatives after the historic moment.



August 31,2008
Sunday Standard
By Jeeh Wanjura

Unless he believes in some political here-after where his labours will be rewarded with a mythical heavenly bliss, Omingo Magara should either quit politics or sue Raila Odinga for frustrated expectations.

The South Mugirango Member of Parliament has good reasons to feel seriously short-changed.

It would need a heart blessed with immeasurable fortitude and perseverance to feel otherwise. And rather than waste emotions in rationalisation the Cabinet can only be so big to accommodate so many, Magara must personify his political woes in the name of the Prime Minister.

He seems to fair worse than an investor in a collapsed pyramid scheme. At least in the latter, the sheer greed for unworked-for riches mitigates the pain of the loss. But for Magara, his is a classical example of reaping far below what you sowed.

Isn’t it amazing how some purported promotions can knock life off a hitherto exuberant presence? How would it possibly feel to have suffered so much for daring to be a political renegade only to be rewarded with so little? How can a painstakingly laboured-for political prominence be eroded so soon? Just how did Magara bring this cloud to his life?

Before we saw him making the most of a seemingly Mickey Mouse assignment recently, there had been many days gone by without seeing, hearing or even reading a word from him.

That is unusual considering Magara otherwise vocal public presence and love affair with the Press. Until the latter quoted him from Naivasha recently on a fence-mending mission with a certain winery that feels, with good reasons, unloved and unwanted by the Government, few guys in Keroka or even Kisii would have known the MP was an Assistant minister.

The loss of publicity must rank as a major climb-down for Magara. Not so long ago, even some politically-conscious mothers were contemplating naming their eighth and ninth borns after him. In the last Parliament, it was trendy to name promising young bulls in South Mugirango after the MP in appreciation of his admirable courage to lock horns with Simeon Nyachae.

May be it had something to do with his walking style too. Magara prefers a firm, slightly askance foot on the ground like a stout bull going downhill. Even when not in a rush, his step is quick, almost military if it were straight and rhythmic. With eyes on the ground, like a barefoot walker negotiating a thorny section, also as if looking up might result in a face to face encounter with Nyachae or perhaps Henry Obwocha.

Perpetual graduations

Magara merited the accolades. True, he had arrived in Parliament in the increasingly popular but appalling hand-me-down political inheritance where parliamentary seats are retained within the family after the death of the incumbent.

But having assumed the mantle of South Mugirango from his brother, Enock, the younger Magara proved to be worth his salt.

Initially, he was eager to read from the Nyachae political bible.

But with time, Magara seemed to have been stuck by the impatience of a young he-goat unhappy with age-determined herd’s mating order.

So he began testing the waters of rebellion against Ford-People, cautiously at first. But egged on by a hard nose for Nyachae gathering political Alzheimer, the splash graduated into a splurge. Before it happened, that kind of insurgency seemed unfathomable.

In a way, political winds were sanguine to Magara.

He made the most of chairing the Public Accounts Committee when the Anglo Leasing genie escaped the bottle. But never mind the fairness or the accuracy of the report. Magara had done his part. His image was on the high and soon, the impresario was feeling sufficiently entrenched to venture ODM political sorties beyond South Mugirango. And what initially felt like a misguided circuit outside Nyache orbit started assuming the ramifications of a radical shift of the political totem pole in the region.

It made him many powerful and vengeful enemies. Nyachae, for instance, took it personal in words and deeds. He did his best to unseat Magara.

Yet after weathering such a formidable onslaught, what does the poor guy get? An Assistant minister lost in running petty and boring errands!

That is patently unfair to Magara. If the coalition forced marriage cannot be stretched enough to create, say, a Ministry for Bananas, then Raila and ODM should sack one minister and hand the seat to Magara. Alternatively, the guy should just quit the laughable appointment and find himself something visible to chair.



Sunday Standard
August 31, 2008
John N Kariuki

It was a once a joke in South Africa that President Thabo Mbeki was visiting the country. The ‘joke’ was a veiled criticism of Mbeki’s leadership style. Seemingly, he found comfort in international affairs that he neglected domestic matters.

Success has indeed been elusive for Mbeki domestically for a number of reasons. SA is a difficult country to govern in part because of its racially inspired and divergent interests. These are further compounded by aggressive news media that is also racially driven. The news media echo the views and interests of their racial constituencies. Such a clear absence of a national consensus makes SA tough to steer, especially so for Mbeki’s ‘reticent’ leadership-style.

His presidential decisions have been repeatedly challenged. But, strangely, Mbeki’s worst political problems have emanated from his own government and political party. Most deadly of these was the dismissal of Jacob Zuma as the country’s deputy president in 2005.

genesis of woes

Although Zuma was legally and clearly implicated in a corruption scandal, Mbeki’s decision to fire him triggered a storm within the ruling ANC and the country. Indeed, SA has yet to outlive the political fallout.

Another difficulty for Mbeki stemmed from his firing of the deputy minister of Health, Nozizwa Madlala-Routledge last year. Overall, the health department has been difficult to manage. It was once headed by the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma whose stint was difficult.

Officially, Nozizwa Madlala-Routledge was relieved of her duties on the grounds of being a non-team player in her job and for travelling to Spain to an Aids conference without presidential approval. Termination came after the deputy minister declined the president’s invitation to resign. An outcry of public protest erupted because the prevailing public view was that it is the Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who should have been dismissed. She is unpopular particularly because of her unorthodox nutritional approach to treating Aids instead of relying on the conventional clinically accepted antiretroviral drugs.

This position is consistent with Mbeki’s view that a virus does not cause HIV/Aids, rather, poverty does.

The president’s view was considered unusual in a country awash with HIV/Aids. From that point on, Mbeki’s commitment to fighting Aids became suspect. Indeed, he has been unable to shake the impression that he and his health minister do not care about people living with Aids.



Sunday Standard
August 31, 2008

By John Mwazemba

Having presided over a disastrous war in Iraq and an economy on the rocks, President George W Bush has seen his popularity ratings hit all-time lows. He is one of the most unpopular presidents in recent American history.

Thanks to the Republican president, this year’s presidential election was supposed to be a Democratic walk-over. The Democratic nominee, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, was supposed to be cruising easily to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After all, he has a crack political operation that dazed the Clinton war machine. There is only one problem: He is black.

The son of a black man from Kenya and a white mother, Obama finds himself the subject of an old battle — between white and black.

I will not be as pessimistic as Times of London columnist Gerard Baker who wrote: "There’s trouble in paradise. Cancel the coronation. Send back the commemorative medals. Put those ‘Yes We Can’ T-shirts up on eBay. Keep the Change. Barack Obama’s historic procession to the US presidency has been rudely interrupted... If you’re prone to emotional breakdown, you might want to take a seat before I say this: He might not win".

Baker is wrong. Almost everything points to a probable Obama win. Underestimate the Chicago politician at your own risk: Hillary Clinton did and got a serious walloping.

However, if he loses it will be because he is black. Race is the main issue that can be Obama’s undoing. It is unfortunate that we are still facing this after all the talk about equality.

With the prevailing political climate decidedly against Republicans, Obama should be many points ahead of John McCain. In fact, the Democratic party leads the Republican party in generic polls with a significant 10 points. But polls between the two presidential candidates of the same parties are a different story.

Polls show that the race between Obama and McCain is a nail-biter, too close to call — with some polls showing recently that McCain is surging ahead. The polls cast some light to Obama’s expected problems at the ballot — older white voters. These voters, a crucial voting block that always votes, are breaking for McCain by surprising margins. Younger white voters, like those attending college, back Barack Obama.

There could be many reasons why older white voters are for McCain, but one that is rarely picked by the media is that these white people are just not comfortable voting for a black man.

Giving the devil his due, America has taken many great strides in reducing racism since the days of Martin Luther King Jr, the unappeasable warrior of justice who once famously said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Original sin

Nevertheless, racism still remains America’s original sin. It is what a critic described as "a sin that festers and divides still." Obama knows this and has already warned that Republicans will try to use race to stoke fears.

"They are going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?"

American politics can be as petty as zeroing in on a funny-sounding name. Of all the 42 men who have been presidents from Washington to Bush, "the names ring with echoes of Northern Europe, of Scotch-Irish or Dutch or German ancestry. Only one bore a name that could fairly be called unusual: Eisenhower. About that exception, two points: Everybody called him ‘Ike’. When you win a world war, you can have any damn name you want," writes Jeff Greenfield.

To make it worse, Obama’s name is unfortunately very close to Osama bin Laden, America’s hate figure. When Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate, Republicans were spotted with newly-minted signs reading ‘Obama bin Biden’.

I digress. The point is, if Republicans can make the campaign an issue of race and come out unscathed, Obama’s prospects could dwindle. The trick is to make people believe Obama is not one of them because he doesn’t look like them.

As Obama officially becomes the presidential nominee at the Democratic Convention, I wish him well, knowing he is a beacon of hope for all minorities not only in America but around the world.



Sunday Standard Magazine
August 31, 2008
By Sunday Magazine Writer

Whenever she is asked to, Michelle Obama is known to describe herself, first and foremost, as the mother of her two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

In the early days of the campaign, when asked what her priorities as First Lady would be, she said her only cause would be giving her children a decent upbringing in the White House.

She never used to expound on her husband’s five-point plans; she just told her story of family, work, sacrifice, aspiration…

On the campaign trail, her tribute to her father has been known to bring a crowd to tears. It is the story she took to the Convention floor in Denver on Monday.

Michelle’s father, Fraser Robinson, struck with multiple sclerosis, went to work on crutches; he never was late, never gave up and never complained and managed to put two children through Princeton.

"My father, like most Americans, just wanted to know that after a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, one day he would put his feet up and look over all that he had done and retire with a little respect and dignity," she told Time. "That’s what most Americans want."

But by the time Michelle took the stage in Denver on Monday, the stakes were a lot higher than raising Malia and Sasha and telling the story of the struggles of her father.

She had the burden of the entire Democratic Party and her husband’s campaign.

In Denver, Michelle was tasked with initiating a four-day introduction of her husband, and her family, on her terms.

Her party was facing a number of imperatives at the convention, none trickier than making more voters comfortable with the prospect of putting the son of a black Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, who grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia — and his family in the White House.

The candidate’s advisers believed that no one makes the case better for Senator Barack Obama than his wife.

Michelle was here to tell the story of a man she initially refused to date.

Time reported in May that Michelle at first refused to date Mr Obama, feeling their work relationship would make a romance improper.

Few family members

Obama, because of his background, has few family members who can serve as surrogates.
So on Monday night, Michelle’s family filled the stage and screen to take care of what was missing in the husband’s lineage.

Her basketball-coach brother, Craig Robinson; her homemaker-turned-secretary mother, Marian; and the memory of her father, Frasier were there.

She described her husband as "the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital 10 years ago this summer."

She described him as "inching along at a snail’s pace, peering anxiously at us in the rear-view mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands."

According to a report in The New York Times, since she left her job as a hospital administrator to campaign and care for her daughters, some feminist critics have complained that Mrs Obama sacrificed her own work for her husband’s.

"But from the very start, the Obama marriage was a kind of professional symbiosis, a partnership between two passionately ambitious people who found they could rise higher in the world together than alone," the paper said.

Political mountain

The partnership between Barack and Michelle Obama, The Washington Post reported, has been essential to his fast rise up the political mountain.

"There were moments when his ambition and long stretches away from the family got to her, especially when their daughters were younger.

The Democratic nominee-in-waiting has recalled times when, as a state legislator, he would return home and be lucky to get more than a lukewarm peck on the cheek," the paper said this week. On Monday night, the would-be first black first lady in the US took the stage for herself, "not just to reaffirm how wonderful her husband is, and what a fine president he would make, but also to redefine herself," according to The Post.

Before mounting the podium, the paper said, she gathered herself backstage in a holding room near the lockers of Denver’s professional hockey team.

"Big moments demand big performances, and she seemed determined not to let the occasion rattle her, but to soar above it."

When it was finally her turn to address the convention delegates, she described herself as a sister, a mom, a wife and a daughter, someone who loves her country and has tried to give back to it.

One day, she told the crowd, her children’s children and future generations will tell the story of "how this time we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming".

Her two daughters tried to steal the show when their mother was done, telling their daddy, who appeared in the hall via video conference, that Mommy had done great. And that they loved him.

Throughout the campaign, Michelle has rarely talked about how instrumental she has been to launching her husband’s political career.

According to a report in Time magazine, from almost the earliest days of their personal and professional partnership, Obama’s political aspirations have guided Michelle’s path.


At the end of 1989, Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin, a prestigious Chicago law firm that also happened to employ a young intellectual-property lawyer and Harvard Law graduate named Michelle Robinson.

Obama was offered a permanent job at Sidley, though senior partner Newton Minow wasn’t surprised when he turned the firm down; the two had often discussed the intern’s political plans, and Minow had pledged to help Obama in his pursuit of a place in public life.

But Obama didn’t just turn the firm down. Minow, a former Federal Communication Commission chairman, recalls that Obama told him to take a seat: "You may not want to help me after you hear the rest of what I’ve got to say. I’m taking Michelle with me."

"You no good, worthless . . . " Minnow said, jumping up angrily.

"Hold it," Obama said, raising a hand.

"We’re going to get married."

Most women might not appreciate their boyfriend’s effectively giving notice on their behalf.

Michelle, though, didn’t seem to mind, according to the Time report.

Not only were they engaged a year later, but sure enough, Michelle surprised her family and friends and left the law firm to go into public service.

The child of Marian and Fraser Robinson, a stay-at-home mother and a city pump operator, Michelle was raised in a close-knit family that ate every meal together, played Monopoly and read together.

"Nobody emphasised public service. What was emphasised was doing what you love to do and you’ll be good at whatever you do," Craig, her brother, told Time.

According to the magazine, Michelle’s father was shocked when she left the law firm and asked: "Don’t you want to pay your student loans?"

Mayor’s office

Her move into public service saw her serve at the mayor’s office, which gave her and her husband, access to Chicago’s political class.

"Michelle’s job gave her husband entrÈe into the best political machine in Illinois, augmenting her ties to Jackson’s powerful civil rights group, Rainbow Push. Her being from Chicago, from the Southside of Chicago, was an asset to Barack in terms of enhancing his ties to the community."

The division of responsibilities in the Obama household, however, hasn’t always been a laughing matter, Time reported.

In his second book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama talks about Michelle’s rage at his ever increasing absence.

"My wife’s anger toward me seemed barely contained. ‘You only think about yourself,’ she would tell me. ‘I never thought I’d have to raise a family alone’."

Michelle may have envisioned giving her children the idyllic childhood that she’d had, the magazine wrote, "but she had to know that Obama was far from a city pump operator with regular hours, nor did she show any real inclination to be a stay-at-home mom."



Sunday Standard
August 31,2008

With Barack Obama securing the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, a race is enjoined to determine the nature of the United States’ future engagement with the world.

As the candidate’s tour of several Middle Eastern and European nations several weeks ago revealed, the world has high hopes for his campaign.

This is particularly because he promises a departure from the approach favoured by Republican incumbent George W Bush and, possibly, by Obama’s rival John McCain.

The Times of London reports the yearning for change is also strong in the US: "Four fifths of Americans say that the US is on the wrong track; Republicans in Congress are heading for a setback of historic proportions; the desire for a change in political direction is palpable."

Obama’s address this morning to Democratic Convention delegates, American voters and, indeed, the world reflected his party’s consensus on what this direction ought to be. Next week in Minnesota, McCain gives his party’s take on the same issue.

What the world will be hoping for, whatever American voters make of these two men and decides on November 4, is a more thoughtful superpower, less infatuated with militarism and open to diplomacy’s potential to bring about change.

Much attention, particularly here in his father’s home country, has gone to the fact that Obama is the first African-American to lead a major party ticket.

His Kenyan roots make for an interesting backdrop to his campaign ‘story’ or an obvious target for the Republicans’ attack machinery, but it is on matters of foreign policy and global security that his campaign holds the greatest hope for the world.

Political analysts say the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, allowed the US to finally abandon an approach of deterrence and containment in favour of a "first strike doctrine" to deal with threats to its national security. The doctrine, aggressively pursued by the Bush administration in its ‘preventive wars’, continues to have significant repercussions for the world.

Chris Dolan, an American political science lecturer says: "A global strategy based on the first strike doctrine could mean the beginning of the end for the very international institutions, laws and norms the US built and strengthened for more than half a century."

Foreign policy

Obama’s pledge to end the iniquitous war in Iraq at the earliest possible chance is likely to be replaced by a more pragmatic approach should he win, but it suggests the right kind of change in American foreign policy.

McCain, who presents himself as a maverick, has in the past supported many of the Bush administration’s positions. His campaign is, however, distancing itself from the unpopular president on many issues. His openness to respect for international law, consensus with key allies and more restraint in the ue of force will determine how the world receives him should he win.

"What is at stake", Dolan reminds us, "is nothing less than a fundamental shift in America’s moral and political leadership of the post-9/11 world."

A powerful legacy of the Iraq war, a multination survey has found, is a loss of trust in the US to act responsibly in global affairs. The so-called "indispensable nation", the world’s only super-power, should take note of the fact that many in the world would like to see Europe grow as a rival power to it, precisely because of the legacy of the last eight years. With China expected to match or exceed the US’s influence within the next 50 years, the precedents set for international engagements in this generation take more significance.

There are many other reasons why all eyes will be on America in the next few months. For democratic nations around the world it is, as an American colonial governor once put it, "the shining city on the hill" that leads by its example. This year’s presidential contest once again showcases the potential for a mature democracy’s institutions to manage difficult transitions. Hopefully, it will also turn the US into a more friendly giant.



August 31, 2008
Sunday Standard

The euphoric wave that brought to power the National Rainbow Coalition in 2002 came with tidal promises of change in all sectors. After Kanu’s rule, spiced with its own inadequacies and excesses, a new chapter opened up.

The incoming ministers, most of them having been on the sidewalk, merely watching the Kanuists rule, rolled up the sleeves and promised Kenya’s better days were no longer in the morrow. Six years later, the after-taste of Narc’s crumbled dream and eventual return to the life of business as usual still is bitter.

We have learnt the hard way that mere replacement of one class of politicians with another does not automatically guarantee change. That, at least, is what the Anglo Leasing scandals, the continued skewed appointments to key public offices, which largely appear to favour those closer to the presidency, and the unchanged public service delivery system, as well as runaway corruption and unethical practices, teach us.

We have realised euphoria alone is not enough.

We need an attitude change, from the top to the bottom.

When police, like they did last week, throw teargas at residential homes where babies could be sleeping, and could suffocate in the fumes for the ‘sins’ of their parents, something is inherently wrong.

When the same police lob teargas at a handful of lawyers in court corridors, we firmly maintain the face of crude and uncivilised governance. When garrotting, plucking of nails and suspension of suspects from trees through the night becomes the popular means of military suppression of a rag-tag militia in Mt Elgon, we cannot claim to have transformed much.

When politicians preach amnesty for historical crimes without first confessing their sins; we just are going round in circles. It matters not that the economy is growing, not when impunity seems to have ringed us on the neck.

Demand real change

When ministers promise to build bridges where there are no rivers, we must ask where then is the change. That is the feeling you get when a minister tells you his prescription for the traffic gridlock in our capital includes putting up helipads on selected skyscrapers for VIPs to use.

We must be realistic and stop expecting change if we cannot change ourselves.

If we want to jump the queue, bribe our way out of traffic offences, or buy our way into Government jobs, extort from those seeking the service for which we are paid to give, then we could as well embrace the dictum, ‘business as usual’.

If we cannot protect our environment, or even the countryman and woman on our left and right, if we cannot raise our voice when politicians dance with the ghosts of impunity, and when we hold steadfast onto the blinkers of tribalism, then we have not the moral uprightness to demand the best from our ruling class.

But in the same breath, if our leaders promise change, yet in word and deed remain the same voices from our dark past, then we shall have defrauded the motherland of a valuable heritage.

That is the hopelessness you feel when, say, parliamentarians from the Coast call a press conference to demand a meeting with the President to ask that the replacement of Mombasa-based Kenya Ports Authority must come from their region. Utter trash!

Finally, if we can kill in the name of tribe or mob justice, how can we chastise the security forces and politicians for failing us ever so daringly? As they say, it takes two to tango.



By Mutinda Mwanzia
Sunday Standard

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka is fighting on all fronts, surrounded by ‘enemies’, in a fiercely competitive political environment.

The Mwingi North MP, charming and smiling, but beneath the veneer perceived as a stealthy but conceited and viciously ambitious politician, lately has a lot happening around him.

After initiating the ‘sacking’ of his one-time personal assistant Fred Muteti last week ostensibly for ‘spying’ on him, Kalonzo this week ran into trouble with Assistant Minister Wavinya Ndeti, who has recorded a statement with the police. The MP’s session with the police followed a spat with the VP at a presidential function.

The onset of a new dimension in the VP’s political challenges in the bedrock of his party came as details of a meeting he had in his office with a former aide two weeks ago emerged. In the meeting reportedly attended by Sports Secretary Daniel Maanzo, who is also the de jure chairman of the VP’s party.

Muteti said things got worse when the VP summoned him to Jogoo House where he was accused of "working with external forces" to undermine the Mwingi North MP.

Also present during the dressing down was former Kilome MP Mutinda Mutiso.

Muteti’s ‘sacking’, which he has disputed, arguing he was a civil servant, came soon after Mr Martin Mulwa, formerly Kalonzo’s events manager, also quit. Both were accused of ‘spying’ on Kalonzo and handing over dossiers to rival party, the Orange Democratic Movement.

Muteti also said the VP asked Maanzo to either quit the party’s chairmanship or give up his job at the Ministry of Sports and Youth.

Civil servants are barred from holding political positions. When contacted, Maanzo said he had nothing to say on the matter. "I cannot talk due to circumstances beyond me," he said.

Muteti blamed his problems on a scheme within ODM-Kenya to ‘besmirch’ his name. "Those saying I have been spying on Kalonzo on behalf of ODM are being cheap and dishonest," he said.

Muteti, a former University of Nairobi student leader, has had a long relationship with Kalonzo.

Before the dust settled on the furore away from cameras, eight MPs, six of them associated with the agitation for Grand Opposition in Parliament, stormed his political turf.

Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo, who though elected under Kalonzo’s ODM-Kenya party, chose not only to ‘rebel’ against him but also to attack him on the national platform, hosted them, under the banner of a homecoming party.

It was not the homecoming party that raised eyebrows, but the surprise guests, who belong to the ‘Grand Opposition’ bandwagon being fought, not only by Kalonzo but President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Present were Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, Dr Bonny Khalwale (Ikolomani), Mr Eugene Wamalwa (Saboti), Mr Charles Nyamai (Kitui West), Mr Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) and Mr Mithika Linturi (Igembe South)

Also present was Deputy Prime Minister and Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta.

Through language and disposition the ‘oppositionists’ made it clear there would be hard days ahead for the Grand Coalition for which Kalonzo is a leading member as are Kibaki and Raila.

Wavinya claimed the VP accosted her, claiming she was among a clique of Kamba MPs fighting him. "We met during the laying of a foundation stone for a new cement factory in my constituency where the VP accosted me."

Wavinya threatened

She added VP’s claims against her made her feel threatened. "When a politician feels threatened, common sense dictates that one seeks protection since the consequences are obvious," said Wavinya.

The alleged incident occurred on Monday in Athi River and the statement was booked in the Occurrence Book, number 16/29/09, at Parliament Police Station.

Wavinya is perceived to be among Kamba MPs who have ‘rebelled’ against Kalonzo. Charles Kilonzo (Yatta MP) and Kiema are counted among the rebels.

Wavinya said she had decided to go public over her tribulations, which "began before the General Election".

"I was rigged out during the ODM-Kenya nomination last year, but made it to Parliament through a little-known political party. I know some people were not happy," said Wavinya.

She claimed during the spat with the VP, he told her he had pushed to have her appointed assistant minister. Kalonzo’s personal assistant Kaplich Barsito termed Wavinya’s move as unfortunate. "I do not want to talk over the issue," Barsito said.

When Kalonzo and Raila parted ways last year, Muteti and Maanzo were the only officials at the secretariat who stuck with the VP. A former Kalonzo driver and aide, Muteti also served as national co-ordinator of the ‘No’ campaign in the 2005 referendum on the constitution.

"Anyone accusing me of being close to Raila is narrow minded since I have known the PM for a long time," he said.

Once accused of being ‘overzealous’ in pushing Kalonzo’s agenda in the original ODM and later ODM-Kenya, Muteti’s relationship with Kalonzo soured soon after the party leader was appointed VP.

"He told me my services were not needed and that it was better if I worked with Mutula," he told The Standard on Sunday.

Muteti also claimed the VP urged Mutula to do away with him as he was a liability to the party. An internal memo to Muteti from Mutula dated August 26, urged him to clarify whether he was sabotaging the VP. "I have been asked to seek a job elsewhere," said Muteti.

But former events manager Mulwa cited "personal reasons" for his resignation. "I felt I needed to go back to my previous businesses. I have never in any way undermined the VP," he said.

He, however, regrets his efforts in making Kalonzo’s campaigns a success, especially in Ukambani, were not appreciated. "I am being vilified for no apparent reason. I’m not a spy," said Mulwa.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008



Published: August 27, 2008

As Senator Obama’s campaign makes its argument for his candidacy before a national audience here this week, it is waging a separate, forceful campaign against a new conservative group running millions of dollars of ads linking him to the 1960s radical William Ayers Jr.

Lawyers for the campaign have asked the Justice Department to investigate the group —which is operating under rules governing non-profit corporations — calling on television stations to cease airing the spot, and, campaign officials said, planning to pressure advertisers on stations that refuse to do so. The ad is running in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

On Monday, the Obama campaign also began running a rotation of advertisements countering the spot where it is running and not-so-subtly implying it is the product of the McCain campaign, with a narrator who says, “With all of our problems, why is John McCain talking about the ’60s, trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers? McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers’ crimes.”

A former aide to Mr. McCain’s campaign, Ed Failor Jr., is a leader of the group; Mr. McCain’s campaign has said it has nothing do with the group. It is being backed by a $2.9 million donation from the billionaire investor Harold Simmons, who was also a major funder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that in 2004 ran a disputed campaign questioning Senator John Kerry’s record as a Swift Boat commander in Vietnam. Mr. Simmons is also a major fundraiser for Mr. McCain.

The group’s activities are being closely watched by Mr. Obama’s campaign, which is on the lookout for groups that might damage his electoral chances the same way the Swift Boat veterans are widely believed to have damaged Mr. Kerry’s. The group emerged late last week, as Mr. Obama’s campaign, and political reporters, were acutely focused on Mr. Obama’s choice of a running mate and convention here.

Its formation followed the recent release of a book by Jerome Corsi — who co-authored a book containing the Swift Boat group’s claims against Mr. Kerry — that contained various factual errors and unsubstantiated claims against Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama’s campaign ultimately responded by releasing a thick dossier of bullet points disputing the book’s claims — a move in part intended to telegraph that it would aggressively meet attacks in a way Democrats accused Mr. Kerry’s campaign of failing to do quickly enough against the Swift Boat group’s charges.

In its fight against the American Issues Project, Mr. Obama’s campaign is essentially arguing that the group should fall under more strict election laws because its sole purpose seems to be to defeat Mr. Obama at the polls; issue groups are allowed to run some political advertising so long as affecting an election is not their primary purpose. Under election laws, Mr. Simmons would not be able to exceed a donation of $42,000 to the group and others like it. In a second letter about the group sent to the Justice Department in the past week, Robert F. Bauer, Mr. Obama’s election lawyer, accused the group of flouting “all legal obligations attendant upon political committee status.”

In a statement, a leader of the group, Ed Martin, said, “These over-the-top bullying tactics are reminiscent of the kind of censorship one would see in a Stalinist dictatorship, with the only difference being that those guys generally had to wait until they were in power to throw people who disagreed with them into jail.”

The group has said it is following proper guidelines and operating legally, and Mr. Martin said it represented “a coalition of conservative activists committed to raising important issues that deserve deeper examination given their impact on policy and politics.”

Mr. Ayers, now a professor of education in Chicago, was a founder of the Weather Underground, which bombed government buildings in the early 1970s. He was indicted on conspiracy charges that were thrown out for prosecutorial misconduct.

He served with Mr. Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a charitable organization, and, along with his wife, the former Weather Underground member Bernardine Dohrn, hosted Mr. Obama at his home in 1995 when he was running for state office.

Mr. Obama has called Mr. Ayers “’somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old.”

Fox News Channel and CNN declined to run the spot amid legal questions. But the commercial, a minute long, has run at least 100 times since Saturday, heavily in East Lansing and Pittsburgh.

Saying that Mr. Obama’s supporters had sent 93,000 e-mails to the Sinclair broadcasting company for carrying the advertisement, Tommy, a campaign spokesman, said, “Other stations that follow Sinclair’s lead should expect a similar response from people who don’t want the political discourse cheapened with these false, negative attacks.”

The fight may move to another front this week.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is in the process or releasing documents detailing Mr. Obama’s involvement with a non-profit education project started by Mr. Ayers.



Published: August 26, 2008
New York Times

After attending the spectacular closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympics and feeling the vibrations from hundreds of Chinese drummers pulsating in my own chest, I was tempted to conclude two things: “Holy mackerel, the energy coming out of this country is unrivaled.” And, two: “We are so cooked. Start teaching your kids Mandarin.”

However, I’ve learned over the years not to over-interpret any two-week event. Olympics don’t change history. They are mere snapshots — a country posing in its Sunday bests for all the world too see. But, as snapshots go, the one China presented through the Olympics was enormously powerful — and it’s one that Americans need to reflect upon this election season.

China did not build the magnificent $43 billion infrastructure for these games, or put on the unparalleled opening and closing ceremonies, simply by the dumb luck of discovering oil. No, it was the culmination of seven years of national investment, planning, concentrated state power, national mobilization and hard work.

Seven years ... Seven years ... Oh, that’s right. China was awarded these Olympic Games on July 13, 2001 — just two months before 9/11.

As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.

The difference is starting to show. Just compare arriving at La Guardia’s dumpy terminal in New York City and driving through the crumbling infrastructure into Manhattan with arriving at Shanghai’s sleek airport and taking the 220-mile-per-hour magnetic levitation train, which uses electromagnetic propulsion instead of steel wheels and tracks, to get to town in a blink.

Then ask yourself: Who is living in the third world country?

Yes, if you drive an hour out of Beijing, you meet the vast dirt-poor third world of China. But here’s what’s new: The rich parts of China, the modern parts of Beijing or Shanghai or Dalian, are now more state of the art than rich America. The buildings are architecturally more interesting, the wireless networks more sophisticated, the roads and trains more efficient and nicer. And, I repeat, they did not get all this by discovering oil. They got it by digging inside themselves.

I realize the differences: We were attacked on 9/11; they were not. We have real enemies; theirs are small and mostly domestic. We had to respond to 9/11 at least by eliminating the Al Qaeda base in Afghanistan and investing in tighter homeland security. They could avoid foreign entanglements. Trying to build democracy in Iraq, though, which I supported, was a war of choice and is unlikely to ever produce anything equal to its huge price tag.

But the first rule of holes is that when you’re in one, stop digging. When you see how much modern infrastructure has been built in China since 2001, under the banner of the Olympics, and you see how much infrastructure has been postponed in America since 2001, under the banner of the war on terrorism, it’s clear that the next seven years need to be devoted to nation-building in America.

We need to finish our business in Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible, which is why it is a travesty that the Iraqi Parliament has gone on vacation while 130,000 U.S. troops are standing guard. We can no longer afford to postpone our nation-building while Iraqis squabble over whether to do theirs.

A lot of people are now advising Barack Obama to get dirty with John McCain. Sure, fight fire with fire. That’s necessary, but it is not sufficient.

Obama got this far because many voters projected onto him that he could be the leader of an American renewal. They know we need nation-building at home now — not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, not in Georgia, but in America. Obama cannot lose that theme.

He cannot let Republicans make this election about who is tough enough to stand up to Russia or bin Laden. It has to be about who is strong enough, focused enough, creative enough and unifying enough to get Americans to rebuild America. The next president can have all the foreign affairs experience in the world, but it will be useless, utterly useless, if we, as a country, are weak.

Obama is more right than he knows when he proclaims that this is “our” moment, this is “our” time. But it is our time to get back to work on the only home we have, our time for nation-building in America. I never want to tell my girls — and I’m sure Obama feels the same about his — that they have to go to China to see the future.



New York Times
Published: August 26, 2008

One of the hallmarks of the global digital age is that anyone with a computer can participate in the political debate. That can be wonderful. Or it can be appalling, like the new video Madonna is showing on her tour.

Go to The Board » It shows a montage of genocide (a Nazi death camp, Asian and African killing fields) and faces of evil and oppression (Adolf Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini, Robert Mugabe). Then it cuts to Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican nomination, and Senator John McCain, who is about to become the official Republican nominee.

This year’s presidential campaign has already been marked by far too much negative advertising, with coded racial images and sophomoric insults. It was outrageous when Mr. McCain’s campaign juxtaposed Mr. Obama with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as part of its effort to denigrate him as a person, rather than debating him on this country’s huge problems.

Madonna’s video is immeasurably worse. If she thought she was helping Mr. Obama by juxtaposing his image with that of Gandhi and Bono, she was wrong.

We do not subscribe to the “shut up and sing” notion that celebrities should stay out of politics — a position most often espoused by Republicans about stars who support Democrats. There is no room in decent discourse for comparing a candidate for president to Hitler.

Tucker Bounds, a McCain spokesman, was exactly right when he called the video “outrageous” and “unacceptable.” Mr. Obama’s team also swiftly denounced it. “These comparisons are outrageous and offensive and have no place in the political process,” said a spokesman, Tommy Vietor. But it was a distressing sign of how low the political debate has gotten this year that neither side could resist using the moment to hurl more mud.

“It clearly shows that when it comes to supporting Barack Obama, his fellow worldwide celebrities refuse to consider any smear or attack off limits,” added Mr. Bounds of the McCain campaign. And Mr. Vietor could not resist his own gratuitous jab. “We hope that John McCain will offer a similar condemnation as his allies increasingly practice sleazy Swift boat tactics,” he said.

At least the song Madonna was performing during the video was aptly named: “Get Stupid.”



August 27, 2008,
By Kate Phillips AND Michael Falcone
New York Times On Line

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech last night received solid — even rave reviews — from disparate corners.

Women seemed to connect more to segments of the speech they found inspirational, for example how she bound generation to generation of women going forward. (The line from Senator Clinton’s ultimate concession in June at the National Building Museum in Washington — that there were “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” has become golden, repeated by Senator Obama and his wife Michelle.) It was pitched forward last night by Chelsea Clinton in that video montage as a metaphor for how the cracks opened new windows of opportunity. But were men as impressed?

So we throw these questions out to our readers:

Did Senator Clinton, wearing the sisterhood of the bright orange traveling pantsuits, deliver a speech that will endure? Did it find more receptive ears among women than men?

And did it accomplish what Democrats hoped it would do, bring those disaffected, alienated, irritated Clinton loyalists underneath the Obama tent? Was she persuasive enough?

Did you have a favorite line from the speech? Our interactive graphic allows you to trace text and video clips from her talk.

Feel free to answer in the comments section.

The morning shows have been dissecting Senator Clinton’s speech for quite a few hours, and media coverage overnight offered a few clues as to whether she was successful in delivering an appeal for unity.

But The Times’s Patrick Healy also examines other messages tucked into the speech along the way:

Mrs. Clinton, who was once certain that she would win the Democratic nomination this year, also took steps on Tuesday — deliberate steps, aides said — to keep the door open to a future bid for the presidency. She rallied supporters in her speech, and, at an earlier event with 3,000 women, described her passion about her own campaign. And her aides limited input on the speech from Obama advisers, while seeking advice from her former strategist, Mark Penn, a loathed figure in the Obama camp.

The Politico’s Roger Simon asks whether with her words on Tuesday night Mrs. Clinton healed the wounds from the hard-fought primary campaign with Senator Obama. And the Washington Post’s Eli Saslow poses the same question to some of her “most loyal delegates” and finds that “even a tremendous speech couldn’t erase their frustrations”:

There was Jerry Straughan, a professor from California, who listened from his seat in the rafters and shook his head at what he considered the speech’s predictability. “It’s a tactic,” he said. “Who knows what she really thinks? With all the missteps that have taken place, this is the only thing she could do. So, yes, I’m still bitter.”

The spotlight was on Mrs. Clinton on Tuesday night and will be on both her husband as well as the presumptive vice presidential nominee, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., tonight — this is, after all, a political convention about Mr. Obama’s candidacy for president — but as The Times’s Jackie Calmes notes, “the question is whether the theatrics and drama of this one are overwhelming one of his most important tasks here: connecting with the economic anxiety gripping voters and convincing them that he has concrete and achievable solutions.”

A sidelight has been the probable unintentional moment each night so far that has overshadowed the campaign’s intentions. For example, Senator Clinton clearly dominated last night, despite the fact that she wasn’t billed as the keynote speaker. (That was Mark Warner, former Virginia governor, now Senate candidate.)

And on Monday night, Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s surprise speech — poignant because of his battle with cancer and striking in its tracing of Democratic politics through generations – dominated a lot of the coverage from Monday, even though Michelle Obama began laying out the family’s biographical narrative that same night.

Tonight, even though Senator Biden, is giving the prime-time address, the speaker whose words will be most anticipated is former President Bill Clinton.

Who will speak the longest? Probably not Mr. Clinton – he’ll have a rival for time in Senator John Kerry, who also is among those taking the stage on the Democrats’ efforts to present a unified message on national security, and in Senator Biden.

But Senator Biden’s speech will also be closely scrutinized for clues as to the role he’ll play on the campaign trail this fall, and may outline the themes of attack he’ll use on Senator John McCain and the Republicans.

Thursday Preview: It’s worth remembering that it was his speech in front of the delegates at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston that helped raise Mr. Obama’s profile in the Democratic party and propel him to a victory in his Senate race in Illinois that year. In another installment of The Times’s “Long Run” series, Jeff Zeleny chronicles Mr. Obama’s path from party outsider to marquee convention speaker.

USA Today’s Jill Lawrence previews Mr. Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, writing “Obama wrote into the night last weekend in a hotel room 15 minutes from his Chicago home. There were no distractions there. And in 2004 he had holed up at a hotel to draft the wildly successful convention speech that catapulted him into national politics. “Superstition,” he says.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mr. Obama will highlight tax cuts for the middle class in his remarks tomorrow: “The single most important thing I have to make clear is the choice we have in November between the same failed policy of the last eight years for the middle class and the new agenda to boost income for Americans and help families who are struggling,” he said in a brief interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday. “I will make that contrast very clearly.”

On Biden: In advance of Senator Biden’s speech in Denver tonight, the Los Angeles Times has a pair of articles looking at the Delware senator’s career and background. Maura Reynolds and Janet Hook examine the relationship between Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama in the Senate and Nicole Gaouette profiles Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill: “As Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden rises to the national stage, friends and colleagues describe a woman who over three decades has carved out a life that is based not on her husband’s career but on her commitment to teaching, to her family and to the causes of healthcare, education and military families.”

Ad Watch: The Times’s Jim Rutenberg writes that the Obama campaign is fighting back – and fighting back hard – against a wave of advertising by a conservative group seeking to draw connections between Mr. Obama and the 1960’s radical, William Ayers Jr., a founder of the Weather Underground.

According to the Wall Street Journal, both Senator Obama and Senator McCain are expanding their ad buys on non-news cable networks in the run up to the November election. For example, the McCain campaign has been running ads “on networks which appeal to women, such as Discovery’s TLC and Discovery Health, as well as on Lifetime.”



August 27, 2008,
By Jeremy W. Peters

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Call it the Galileian stump speech.
Gov. David A. Paterson, continuing his oratorical assault on John McCain as Democrats gather in Denver for their national convention, used a phenomenon known by physicists as the “Parallax Effect” to slam the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr. Paterson — a lawyer by training, not a physicist — said he thought the metaphor worked as a way of illustrating “how obtuse” and “how distant” Mr. McCain is from most Americans.

“When something is so far away that you cant even measure it, you take an object that’s a little closer. And by knowing the distance between you and that object, you can now assess how far away the third body is,” Mr. Paterson told New Jersey delegates in a speech on Wednesday morning.

As his frame of reference, Mr. Paterson likened President Bush to Pluto, which drew chortles and applause from the audience. “Now President Bush is very distant from what the American public needs,” Mr. Paterson said.

Apparently not content with reserving his satire solely for Mr. McCain, Mr. Paterson slipped in a dig at Mr. Bush, noting that Pluto had been downgraded by astronomers, who no longer consider it a full-fledged planet. “And I think down the road historians will declassify President Bush as president because he was never really elected.”

Then, bringing it back to Mr. McCain, the governor continued, “Just comparing him to President Bush, you know that John McCain is not even in our solar system but is far off in a distant galaxy.”
Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush were not the only distant objects that Mr. Paterson dealt with on Wednesday.

The governor was scheduled to speak to the New Jersey delegation at 9 a.m., but he arrived almost an hour late. When he finally stepped up to the lectern, he noted the lengthy distance between his hotel in downtown Denver and the hotel where New Jersey delegates are staying, which is about 20 miles away.
“I just want you to know this facility is farther away from the Sheraton than any geographic point in New Jersey is from New York,” he said.